Knowle Cottage was built between 1811 and 1839 by Mr Upham on the knoll overlooking the river . It was for sale in 1840 and described as:

“situated in a shrubbery and garden and commands a beautiful view of the Valley of Dawlish and the sea, the latter within 4 minutes walk. The house contains breakfast room, dining room, drawing room, …and 4 best bedrooms and closet, servants bedrooms, kitchen, pantry, china cabinet, underground cellar and other convenience. The air of Dawlish is mild and salubrious and is one of the most select watering places on the coast with unusually numerous and genteel families.”

However, in 1847 the lower part of the grounds had been sold to Dawlish Gas Co. but the house and garden were improved and it was leased out. The next owner was Dr Charles Lovely, a prominent local resident and councillor, who had his surgery in his own house as did all the local doctors before the health centre was built in 1970.

In 1913, Dawlish Urban District Council bought the house for offices until 1946, when it moved to the Manor House.
It remained as a clinic until the Museum took it over 1969.